Worship, liturgy, hymnody

To be Online or Not To Be Online: Uncovering the Roots of the Debates Concerning Online Worship  

[1] “The right understanding of any matter and a misunderstanding of the same matter do not wholly exclude each other.”[1] Like the novel as a whole, this statement from Franz Kafka’s The Trial is a portal into opacity. Joseph K., the novel’s protagonist, finds himself lost in an endless debate governed by nontransparent logic. He […]

How Can I Keep from Singing? An Appeal to Christians to Sing the Faith

[1] On Cantata Sunday of this year (May 2, 2010), my husband and I gave our farewell sermon to the congregation at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Fürth, Germany, based on Isaiah 12:21 and the hymn by Robert Lowry (1826–1899) “My Life Flows on in Endless Song.”2 The last line of the refrain asks, “Since […]

Worship and the Missio Dei

[1] The Journal of Lutheran Ethics invites us again this month to think about the relationship between Sunday worship and ethics, giving us an opportunity to question our assumptions about worship and God’s mission. Many scholars working on liturgical renewal have contended that to worship is, in fact, to engage in our fundamental identity as […]

Planning Ecumenical Worship

I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. – John 17:20–21a [1] The assembly of believers around word and sacrament represents a public event that serves as a witness of faith to the whole world. […]

“Music Is Prayer:” Reconsidering Secular Music

[1] Historically, as the splendid Thrivent production 500 Years of Lutheran Music demonstrates, Lutherans have been eclectic and creative in our choices of music for liturgy. Recently, however, the choices have seemed to narrow to either “traditional” or “contemporary” music. The former features the organ, a baroque instrument rarely experienced outside of church. The latter […]

Liturgical Practice and Ethical Perspective: Revisiting the Marriage Liturgy

[1] Liturgy provides experiences that form our spiritual identity. The liturgical rhythm of the common lectionary helps us wrestle with parts of scripture we might be wary of because they are uncomfortable or challenging to us. This is a positive force in a believer’s ethical formation. But there can be a down side as well. […]

Thieves in the Temple: Intellectual Property, Use of Media, and the Law (Not Yet) Written on Our Hearts

[1] Today’s reading from Jeremiah casts a lovely and hopeful vision for a future when God’s law is “written on the hearts” of the people, and when friendship with God is so obvious that no one needs any convincing. Imagine the profound reformation required for us humans to reach that point! Although we trust that […]

Editor’s Comments – Liturgical Ethics

[1] Melinda Quivik poses the question to us in her essay: How do we know what to do? Christians look to the liturgy, the work of its people, to find the answers. Confession, praise, prayer, Word, sacrament, and blessing form us even as we decide what musical setting to use and choose (or do not […]

Recognizing the Other in Liturgical Acts: Religious Pluralism and Eucharist

[1] A major difficulty facing contemporary life is the misrecognition of persons. This is the social pathology whereby we can improperly recognize the religious other and thereby do violence to another.1 Misrecognition denotes a variety of processes. In general, it marks the way that a person can ignore another, treat a person as a thing […]

Liturgical Practice as the Model for Justice

A liturgy of Christians is nothing less than the way a redeemed world is, so to speak, done.1 [1] At the January 2001 annual meeting of the North American Academy of Worship, Vice-President Gabe Huck’s address laid out the importance of worship for learning the ways of a just society. He told of a seven […]